More than 85% of Impala Platinum’s employees and contractors have been fully vaccinated, with 100% full vaccination achieved at three out of its seven operations across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada.

Group Covid-19 vaccination data as of 01 December 2021, showed the rate achieved for the first dose of the vaccine was 93%, and the average rate for fully vaccinated employees and contractors was 85% Group wide.

Commenting on the high rate of success related to vaccine take-up among employees, Implats CEO, Nico Muller said, “This achievement is indicative of our efforts to make vaccines more accessible for our employees, together with our comprehensive communication campaign which helped our employees understand the importance of being vaccinated”.

In November, Implats was recognised in two categories at the South African MineSafe 2021 Tripartite Conference. The Group was awarded for its industry-leading Covid-19 response by a large company, in recognition of its extensive employee and community vaccination programme. It was also awarded for the best safety performance in the PGM sector for the period, following several record safety performances.

Achieving vaccination targets

The three Implats operations to have achieved 100% vaccination rates are Zimplats (6 854 employees), Mimosa (3 833 employees) and Impala Canada (951 employees), while 92% of the Group’s head office employees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Impala Rustenburg – the largest employer of the Group with a 42 000-strong workforce on site – had achieved an excellent rate of 89% first dose and 79% full vaccination as of 1 December 2021. Marula, with a workforce of 4 490, achieved a remarkable 94% full Covid-19 vaccination rate. “This excellent performance was achieved by a concerted effort from management, union leaders and our medical team, working in close cooperation with local health authorities in our areas of operation,” explained Muller.

Implats proactively encouraged and facilitated employee and community vaccinations in line with vaccine availability and has extensively supported government vaccination initiatives in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Impala Platinum Limited, which owns and operates the Rustenburg and Refineries operations, was the first registered mining vaccination site and was one of only five workplace sites to be selected by the national Department of Health (DOH) as a pilot site for workplace vaccination. The Rustenburg-based vaccination site was a successful collaboration between the North West Department of Health, local NGOs, ward councillors, and Impala.

Vaccination rollout

Impala Rustenburg activated its first mobile vaccination site in Rustenburg’s Freedom Park community on 9 September 2021, marking the start of a campaign to host vaccination outreach days in other areas of the mining community.

Impala Canada was one of the first mining operations in Canada to host an on-site vaccination clinic for its workforce.

In the initial stages of the vaccination rollout, when only health workers and those over 60 years of age qualified for the vaccine – the Marula mine – Implats’ Limpopo-based operation, vaccinated its eligible employees at the Impala Rustenburg vaccination site. In July 2021, Marula mine was launched as a government-registered workplace vaccination site in partnership with the DOH and the operation hosted the Limpopo MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, at the first drive on 30 July 2021, when 1 625 permanent employees and contractors were vaccinated. Subsequent on-site vaccination drives have increased the total number of fully vaccinated to 94% of the workforce.

“The vaccination facility has simultaneously benefited Impala Rustenburg employees and its host communities and is playing an important role in South Africa’s vaccination drive. We are fiercely committed to the continued support of all our stakeholders in the collective fight against the pandemic,” added Muller.

In South Africa, medical staff and hospital administrative staff underwent Covid-19 vaccination training and were seconded to assist the Department of Health with the South African national vaccine rollout. In Zimbabwe and in Canada, all consenting medical staff were initially vaccinated followed by all consenting employees at the operations.

Covid-19 continues to be the major health risk. Booster doses will be necessary, and these are being rolled out according to the various national protocols. Implats is committed to acquiring and administering vaccine booster doses in the future, particularly for employees and community members with comorbidities.

“As the pandemic persists, so will our support for our people and local communities. We will continue to focus on intensifying our vaccination efforts to ensure that all our employees across all our operations are fully vaccinated. Our operations have implemented campaigns to tackle vaccine hesitancy including raising awareness of the benefits of getting vaccinated, promoting trust through leaders setting an example, and incentives to promote uptake,” concluded Muller.

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